History of the Rolex Sea-Dweller
The Rolex Sea-Dweller was first introduced in 1967 as Reference 1665, although a few prototypes were
created prior to the initial release of this watch model. The Reference 1665 had the words Sea-
Dweller/Submariner 2000 written in red on the dial and it had a water resistance level of 610m. This
watch drew the attention of commercial divers and Rolex even teamed up with a French diving
company, Comex, to provide their divers with customized watches.
In 1977, the Rolex Sea-Dweller became its own individual model, without the Submariner name
attached to it. Once the Submariner name was removed, the Reference 1665 continued in production
but took on a slightly different form and was known as the Great White model, as the red font was
removed from the dial, too.
The next Rolex Sea-Dweller to be released was the Reference 16660, also known as the Triple Six. This
Rolex Sea-Dweller version featured some updates to the Reference 1665, including a new sapphire
crystal, larger case, unidirectional bezel, and 1,220m water resistance level. The Reference 16660 also
had a new movement installed in it, a calibre 3035 with a quick-set feature. One final update to the
Reference 16660 related to the bracelet which was built with solid links.
Following the ten-year production timeframe of the Reference 16660, in 1988 Rolex introduced its
longest running Sea-Dweller, the Reference 16600. The Reference 16600 when first released featured a
calibre 3135 movement and glossy black dial. Throughout its years of production, the Reference 16600
saw various lume materials, from tritium to LumiNova to Super-LumiNova.
The Reference 16600 had a loyal following until it was discontinued in 2008. Rolex then introduced the
Deepsea Sea-Dweller Reference 116660. This new Rolex watch was bigger and even more impressive
than its predecessor. The new case was a massive 44mm size and the watch had an increased depth
rating to go with it. The new Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller could work its magic underwater up to 3900m.
The eye-catching bezel featured a Cerachrom ceramic insert and the dial had larger indices and hands to
properly accommodate the 44mm size. The Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller was held together by an Oyster
bracelet with Glidelock clasp.
The Reference 116660 was so impressive that Rolex used it to commemorate James Cameron’s
exploration of the Mariana Trench. The special edition watch was called the Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-
Blue. All features of this special edition watch matched the original Reference 116660 except for the
addition of a blue-to-black gradient dial.
The Sea-Dweller 4000 Reference 116600 was the next watch version in the Rolex Sea-Dweller collection.
This watch pleased Rolex buyers with its 40mm case and maxi dial with Cerachrom bezel. The 1,220m
(4,000 feet) water resistance level provided excellent depth for the water aficionado. However, the
Reference 116600 only had a three-year production time period and was discontinued in 2017. This
would prove beneficial for Rolex collectors though as limited production means greater rarity of the
watch, making it an exceptional collector’s item.
After the Reference 116600 had its time to shine, Rolex produced a new Sea-Dweller, the Reference
126600. The Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 126600 features a 43mm case and a welcome mixture of
vintage and modern styles. With Sea-Dweller written in red font on the dial, it’s easy to identify this
beautiful luxury watch. Other features of the Reference 126600 include a cyclops lens and Rolex calibre
For those who appreciate a two-tone material, the fact Rolex released a two-tone Sea-Dweller in 2019 is
something that may be on the Rolex aficionado’s radar.
Ready to explore the Rolex Sea-Dweller further? Visit TheWristWatcherInc.com to see what beautiful
timepieces are waiting for you.